First national online wool auction held

First national online wool auction held

News
Darren Calder.

Darren Calder.

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"Basically, we were participating to get a feel for it (online live auctions) and to see how it would work."

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WESTERN Australian wool trader PJ Morris Wools participated in the inaugural Sydney-based AuctionsPlus and WoolQ online transactional live wool auctions last week.

Darren Calder, who buys for PJ Morris at the Western Wool Centre (WWC) open-cry auctions, bid via computer from his Norfolk Street, Fremantle, office in the first national online live auctions, held by AuctionsPlus on Thursday and by WoolQ on Friday.

Mr Calder was one of 10 buyers bidding in the AuctionsPlus auction and one of seven bidding in the WoolQ auction.

He had also bid for PJ Morris in the first Australian Wool Exchange (AWEX) online virtual live auction trial organised for WWC buyers three weeks ago as a contingency plan in case COVID-19 regulations forced open-cry wool auctions to cease.

"They (AuctionsPlus and WoolQ auctions) were different in that they didn't try to replicate an open-cry auction (unlike the AWEX trial conducted on Zoom with Westcoast Wool & Livestock auctioneer Danny Burkett wielding the gavel as he would at the WWC)," Mr Calder said.

"There was no auctioneer as such, you were bidding against a clock," he said.

While the independently-developed AuctionsPlus and WoolQ live auctions platforms were similar, there were differences in the way they operated, Mr Calder said.

"Basically, we were participating to get a feel for it (online live auctions) and to see how it would work," he said.

After their successful inaugural online live auctions last week, AuctionsPlus and WoolQ both announced they intend continuing with regular weekly online live auctions.

AuctionsPlus project manager Tom Rookyard said the company's next online live auction was scheduled for 10am today, Thursday, and that they would continue each week.

WoolQ has said it will commence regular weekly online live wool auctions next Thursday, April 30, but has not yet nominated a time.

Mr Rookyard described AuctionsPlus' first online live auction as "a really good sale", with a good spread of wool on offer and "solid prices" achieved.

He said 61 per cent of the 237 bales offered in 44 lots sold at auction and "somewhere between 20 and 30pc" of the lots passed in were sold immediately after the auction.

The lots were offered in batches of 10 and buyers could bid on any lots in a batch, with the auction taking 25 minutes, Mr Rookyard said.

Nutrien Wool, Elders, Australian Wool Network and Jemalong Wool were the sellers, but there was no WA wool in the auction.

Mr Rookyard said Nutrien Wool's WA division had listings for today's auction.

He said about 30 other buyers and brokers from companies around Australia had watched the first auction online to learn more about how they operate.

Up until last Thursday AuctionsPlus had only sold wool online at private auctions which were not live.

In a media statement, WoolQ revealed it sold 13 of 52 lots offered in 40 minutes, but did not say how many bales were involved.

It did not identify selling brokers or buyers and it is understood there was also no WA wool in the WoolQ auction.

"At the conclusion of the session, most participants were satisfied with the way the platform operated and have indicated they intend to participate in future WoolQ Market auctions," WoolQ said.

"The trial provided valuable feedback and the team will now work to enhance and improve before the next sale," it said.

As previously reported in Farm Weekly, an alternative selling option to open-cry wool auctions is the final stage of the WoolQ platform development first proposed by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) after the 2014 wool selling system review.

WoolQ includes a wool classer eSpeci, ready reckoner, clip data archive, market information and analysis and a wool industry forum, but WoolQ Market's selling option was delayed until now.

AWI and WoolQ have attracted some criticism from woolgrowers in the past because elements of the WoolQ platform, including wool sales, were already available online in other formats from other providers.

The development costs of WoolQ to provide services already available was one of the arguments a push by some woolgrowers - seen by AWI to be initiated in WA - used to successfully argue the AWI-funding wool levy be cut from 2 per cent to 1.5pc of wool sales value from July 1 last year.

But WoolQ claims benefits of its WoolQ Market incude:

- A highly secure longer-term solution that at once complements open cry trading at the same time addressing some of the immediate challenges facing this traditional method of selling.

- A fully versatile and configurable platform that can be scaled up or down to deal with the volumes of wool available for sale.

- Is supported by a team of industry professionals ready to assist both sellers and buyers in getting comfortable with this new way of transacting wool.

- Is part of a universal grower/broker online platform that delivers wool and its data electronically from the shearing shed through to the port for export.

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